Four thousand years ago, God promised Abraham to bless all peoples through him. Today, this promise is being fulfilled before our very eyes, and with an almost unbelievable speed," note mission strategists Ralph Winter and Bruce Koch in their article "Finishing the Task" in Missions Frontiers, published by the US Center for World Mission. "Biblical faith is spreading as never before."
The magazine presented the following new figures, based on its own research and David Barrett's and Patrick Johnstone's statistics:
"Evangelical Christianity is growing 3.5 times as fast as the world population, with Pentecostal and Charismatic churches 4.5 times as fast. That makes Evangelical Christianity, with 645 million members or 11% of the population, the fastest-growing major religious group, and the only major movement growing significantly through conversion," commented Johnstone.
Unreached Peoples Not so Unreached!
Of the world's 24,000 people groups, some 10,000, with a total population of around 2.1 billion, are unreached. An ‘unreached people group' is a numerically significant population which shares a language, religion, race, locality, trade, class, caste or other identifying element in which there is no indigenous group of Christians able to reach the people group with the gospel.
"Of the world's 6 billion inhabitants, around one third are ‘Christians,' another third lives in people groups which have been reached with the gospel, and the remaining third lives in unreached groups. (An unreached group is one in which less than 2% of the group are evangelical, or less than 5% are active Christians, according to the AD2000 and Beyond movement's definition). That is a great step forward from the situation in 1974, when around half of the non-Christians lived in unreached people groups; today, it is only one third. For the first time in history, there are fewer non-Christians in unreached people groups than in evangelised groups," the report continues.
Winter and Koch conclude: "We are clearly in the final era of world mission. For the first time in history, we can see that the task of establishing a church-planting movement in the language and social structure of every people group can be completed."
Source: www.missionfrontiers.org via Friday Fax